Welcome to the coloured glass classroom! We hope to provide you with lots of creative ideas and resource links to help you engage the young people in your religious and Christian education classes. This blog is sponsored by the Anglican Schools Commission of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.

30 June 2016

Using your brain is fun!

 The Philosophy Man

Religious Education is fun too!

I imagine that for many students this statement and the one in the title are not true. Their experience of school and the classroom, what they may equate with learning and therefore using their brain has not been fun. I also suspect that for many students religious education, in particular, has not been fun. 

But what is this talk of fun? What has fun got to do with anything?

By fun I mean stimulating, enjoyable, engaging, an experience of that magical thing called "flow". 

"Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does". ~ Wikipaedia

I don't know about you but this definition of flow is what I would hope students might experience while learning and in the religious education classroom. No doubt there is some boring stuff that just has to be done (I guess??) but in every lesson we should try to do something that might excite students, engage them, fill them with wonder, make them curious, have them wanting to argue. You get the picture.  Now while we can't guarantee this will happen, we can strive for it by using creative and engaging pedagogy. 

So...after that long winded introductory rant...check out "The Philosophy Man". Jason Buckley's website and resources are based around Philosophy for Children (P4C). I signed up and got the first email and I was pretty delighted with what I received. The activities could be directly used in the RE classroom to fire up student's critical thinking and imagination. Alternatively the activities could be adapted to other areas of religious education. Some of these activities could be used to start the lesson and engage students early on.

Often in the religious education classroom we can be concerned with communicating a particular message and we are answering questions that students haven't even asked yet. It must be a priority to help students think about life and what it means, and begin wondering, and articulating their questions. When this happens we have an opportunity to walk with students and help them to explore. 


21 June 2016

Infographics for Religious Education

Infographics have the potential to bring many aspects of learning together. Creating an effective one requires the ability to identify the important information for a potentially complex topic and to represent it not only beautifully but in a way that is engaging and clarifying.

As a task for students, creating an infographic provides an engaging  and creative way to summarise and synthesise information.

Josh Byers has done some fantastic work on a range of infographics. You can see some of his work here. One of his projects involves creating an infographic for every book of the Bible. Although it would be an involved task it could be interesting to see what students created if asked to make an inforgraphic for a book of the Bible.

An infographic could be created for just about any topic being  investigated. Josh created one looking at the arguments against the resurrection of Jesus and the apologetic responses. It is well worth a look.

14 June 2016

Dust Echoes: Ancient Stories, New Voices

Dust Echoes "is a series of twelve beautifully animated dreamtime stories from Central Arnhem Land, telling stories of love, loyalty, duty to country and aboriginal custom and law."

There is a study guide for each of the videos. The videos themselves can be accessed on the website but some also appear on Youtube.

These videos and resources would be useful in exploring Aboriginal religion and spirituality or even considering values and the way they are expressed in story.

7 June 2016

Short Films for Long Dicussions

Visual media is an essential tool for engaging today's students. Short films in religious education can be a great way to spark student imagination and get them thinking about a particular topic. Even showing a three minute film with any theme and asking them what they think it means is sure to fire up their synapses.

Future Shorts on Youtube is a great source of all kinds of short films.There are also lots of films there that are not appropriate for the school setting, so some searching is required.

The one below would be great for discussing ethics and the question: If you could get away with it would you? A similar question was explored by Plato using the metaphor of the Ring of Gyges. 

This film doesn't have a theme that might seem to directly connect with RE but it could be of value in discussing how changing our hair or other things might change us. It is called Thirty Masks. 

This is a great one for thinking about work and life and dreams.


A great short film that could be used in so many places as a conversation starter or entry point into exploring our place in the world.